Oberstar rips Obama administration over transportation policy


When you are on your 18th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, you get some freedom to go off on your very own political party's president. No one's holding our Rep. Jim Oberstar back.

Oberstar chairs the House Transportation Committee and has big visions for the future of the country's crumbling infrastructure. Apparently the Obama administration isn't exactly following through on their "change" mantra when it comes to our country's ability to move from one place to the next.

Oberstar spoke Wednesday afternoon at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and had some harsh words for the president. We wouldn't be surprised if Oberstar finds his car sealed in plastic wrap someday soon. No one rips on Obama, particularly Democrats.

Oberstar's speech was titled "Getting America to Work: Opportunities and Challenges in Transportation Policy" and focused on his new plan for the country's transportation system as well as a strict timeline to get things done.

The Obama administration has their hands full trying to deal with the health care reform debate in the next couple months, so officials have suggested putting Oberstar's baby, the $450 billion six-year plan on hold for 18 months and extend all existing laws.

Oberstar isn't having any of that.

"An eighteen month delay in Washington means four years. Inertia is the enemy of progress," he said in the Smart Politics speech recap.

When discussing how the country will pay for some much-needed upgrades and additions, Obama's leadership wasn't exactly speaking out, Oberstar said. While several business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the American Trucking Association, and the Associated General Contractors of America support user fees (gas taxes) to pay for the new programs, the White House isn't exactly supporting anything.

"The yes-we-can, change-you-can-believe-in White House ran for cover," Oberstar said. "I told the groups that they have to lead, because the White House isn't."

To read more of Oberstar's remarks, check out the full rundown at Smart Politics.